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The Many Animal Cafés in Japan

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Drinking coffee and petting cats at the same time? It is all possible in Japan! Cat cafés are so popular in Japan that in just Tokyo there are more than 39 of these cafés located. But Japan didn’t stop at cat cafés. Of course not. We are talking about Japan here! Animal cafés are popping up all over the place. Some are home to other pet animals, while others prefer more exotic creatures. Let’s take a look at some of the animal cafés Japan is home to!

The Cat Café

Japan was actually not the first country to introduce the cat café to the world. That honour goes to Taiwan. Here the world’s first cat café opened in 1998. That café became famous in Japan, inspiring the opening of Japan’s first cat café in Osaka in 2004. Why are these cafés so popular? Well, first of all: KITTIES!!! Also, many apartments in Japan don’t allow pets. So, to get some relaxing cuddling time with furry felines, your best option is to go to one of these cafés.

Worried about the cats’ wellbeing? You will be happy to learn that every cat café needs to have a license and it needs to comply with the requirements and regulations of the Animal Treatment/Protection Law. So, strict rules are in place to ensure cleanliness and animal welfare.

The huge success of Japan’s cat cafés has inspired people from other countries to open their own cat café. You can now find cat cafés all over the world (Korea, Malaysia, Bangkok, Singapore, United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Austria, UK, Hungary, Germany, Spain, France, Lithuania, Italy, the Netherlands, USA, Canada, Australia)!!!

There are many types of cat cafés. Some cafés only have black cats, while others are dedicated to fat cats. My favourite so far is Temari no Ouchi. Its unique décor reminds me of fairytales and fantasy lands…

Temari no Ouchi 2 Temari no Ouchi 1

The Bunny Café

They must have thought, what other animal is cute, cuddly and fury that we can drink coffee with? Japan’s answer? The bunny café! Bunny cafés started to take off in 2012. You can actually buy rabbits at some of these cafés (making it a pet shop and coffee shop in one). Bunny Cafés can’t be found on every street corner in Japan, but there is definitely more than one! Popular are Café Rabbi, Ra.a.g.f. (Rabbit and grow fat), and Wonderland.

Bunny Cafe 1 Bunny Cafe 2

The Owl Café

You can blame the success of the Harry Potter franchise for this one. Yes, owl cafés are a thing in Japan. As in, there is more than one. Some owl cafés serve owl inspired snacks and some cafés allow you to handle the animals. I must say, I am more comfortable with cat and bunny cafés than with owl cafés. Owls are pretty, but their beaks and talons are pretty sharp… Also, I much rather see an owl in the wild than in a café…

owl cafe 2 Owl Cafe 1

The Penguin Bar

Yes. It can get crazier than owl cafés. Case in point: penguin bars. There are at least 4 penguin bars in Japan. These cafés feature live penguins that are behind glass. During feeding time, patrons can feed the penguins. Now, I do find penguins cute with their waddling and all, but (like owls) I prefer to see them in the wild, on TV in the wild, or the zoo (I also have mixed feelings about zoos, but that’s a discussion for another time). Plus, watching penguins feed will probably spoil your appetite…

Penguin Bar 2 Penguin Bar 1

The Stuffed Animal Café

Not in the mood for live animals to accompany you during lunch? How about stuffed animals? At Tokyo’s Moomin House Café, lone patrons dine with a Moomin (a stuffed white hippo-like character created by Finish writer and illustrator Tove Jansson). Why, you ask? Well, to keep you safe from the awkwardness that is dining solo, of course. Dining with a Moomin is much more preferable than dining alone. Duh.

Moomin Cafe 2

Have you ever been to an animal café in Japan? Let us know & leave a comment!


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